The Baroque Cycle is a hugely ambitious work, sweeping across 17th century history. Quicksilver, the first book in the cycle, is centred on the early ..Show More »days of the Royal Society and the Enlightenment. Taking in the power struggles of Europe, the Plague and the Great Fire, it's a great read and makes a particularly good audiobook. Highly recommended.
If you have read "Quicksilver" and were not put off by the negative reviews for the first book your efforts will be rewarded and you will so..Show More »on find the narrative gaining momentum as Jack enters to reak havok across Europe. The sections that relate Jack's adventures are certainly the most fun parts of this excellent novel. Nothing less than 5 stars for this extraordinary and highly entertaining work. See my reviews for the other parts.
Love the Baroque Cycle and Simon Prebble's narration of it. Tolerated Kevin Pariseau's curious phrasing of the quotes at the beginnings of each chapte..Show More »r, but really didn't like Katherine Kellgren's interpretation of Eliza - she doesn't match my 'picture' of Eliza at all; on audible.com someone wrote she was 'too arch; too prissy' and I have to say I agree...
The Baroque Cycle really is vast. Part of me wants to listen over again from the start to make sure I ..Show More »grasped everything, though I confess the sheer length of these books is daunting. I will certainly be re-reading Cryptonomicon though.
Great books, especially now we're past all the bewildering financial and economic stuff in the earlier volumes. Prebble is a wonderful narrator, with an amazing range of character voices.
My one and only irk with these audiobooks has been Kevin Pariseau who reads the little quotations at the start of each section - truly awful intonation and reading that renders the most straightforward text completely incomprehensible. (but he's not in it much thankfully!)
I finished this part of Stephenson's epic reluctantly; at a mere 3000 pages this book is not nearly long enough for my taste. So I am pausing to r..Show More »esearch the background. This part is set entirely in London, ten years since the last part ended and a new world- Daniel Waterhouse has returned from America and it came as a shock to realise that the last 2000 pages have been a flash-back from the sea journey that was described at the very beginning of the book. And what has Jack been up to all this time, apart from growing old? A gripping tale unfolds which keeps me guessing while Stephenson takes me on a sightseeing tour of historic London; and I am inspired to venture out to the city on a cold November Sunday and explore these places anew through the eyes of his extraordinary imagination. And yes, as far as I can tell, his geography is accurate in every detail. I don't want this story to end and there are only two more audiobooks to go.
In this part of Stephenson's epic we continue our tour of historic London, visiting places as diverse as Parliament, Newgate Prison, Bedlam and the..Show More » Bank of England; while a complex plot of mystery and intrigue unfolds. A sort of Conan Doyle meets Alexander Dumas.
I've taken to going on long walks in Richmond Park with my audio player. This way I can listen for hours on end without any loss of concentration. A really long novel, full of local colour and historical detail, with a complex and exciting plot, is what I require for this. Forget HD 3D movies on TV- this is the true immersive experience because the spoken novel engages the imagination on another level entirely.
For six months now I have been suspended between two worlds and at times I feel unsure as to where I am- I have to remind myself that the year is 2010 and not 1714, and that this is a work of fiction and not history. Now I am unsure- was the long anticipated meeting of Newton and Leibniz cut short by the passage of a harpoon thrown at Peter the Great, Tzar of Russia, in a tavern in Hockley?
Is the Bank of England build on the site of a Roman temple dedicted to Mithras?
And is there really a secret passage from the cellars of the Bank to the Church of St Stephen Walbrook?
And did Daniel Waterhouse build the logic machine (aka computer) with the help of whores in Newgate Prison, and to drive it, finance the first steam engine?
And on the streets of London, was a civil war narrowly averted with the help of Jack's gold?
This final part is a satisfying completion of the Baroque Cycle and a fitting climax to its ingenious narrative. The last three parts stand together ..Show More »and are I think the best parts of the book for the unrelenting pace of narration and depth of historical detail; but the final part is darker- much of it set in prisons, madhouses or sewers. Jack, our much loved hero, is caught, tried for treason and condemned to the ultimate penalty of being hanged, drawn and quartered. We take a final guided tour of the streets of London with the condemned on the route to Tyburn Hill and the gallows tree. There seems to be no hope of escape as time runs out and every possibility is exhausted. Stephenson turns the screw and keeps us guessing to the very end.
I bid a sad farewell to Jack, to Eliza, Daniel, and all the others who now seem so real to me. After this magnificent feast for the mind, where do I go now to feed my imagination? Perhaps I will assay Stephenson?s Cryptonomicon, another suitably roomy tome in which I can expect to renew my acquaintance with an old friend.